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In both a playful and poignant way, Assumptions, explores how we find ourselves captured in a network of categorizations, as we attempt to create identities for ourselves and others. Labeling may be an attempt to simplify, clarify and control the complexities and tensions experienced within ourselves and our relationships with others. Assumptions proposes that this control comes with a price.
By means of a computer program, I invite observers to play the “labeling game”. Through the strict parameters of the program and the budget of labels available, the experience demonstrates how we are limited by the categorizations we impose. As we make various choices in the game, we are limited by procedures and definitions that we cannot completely control. In the process, we discover our own subjugation to the game. Exhibited alongside the computer station are small numbered and labeled bottles, each containing tiny, naked “specimens” frozen in clear resin. These objects are amusing but also evocative of the pain we impose and endure when we reduce the vulnerable complexities and fluid ambiguities of being to a collection of predefined, hierarchical terms.
With intelligence and humor, "Assumptions" lets us see what we gain and what we forfeit when we play—as we must—the game of defining and being defined.
Assumptions was exhibited at ARTsPLACE (Annapolis Rpyal, NS) in 2007.